Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Painting Our House: A Three-Year Labor of Love

The first thing anybody asks me when I see them in person is: “How’s the house coming?” This is very thoughtful, of course, because it shows they care (and are following our progress online), but also marginally stressful for me because I feel like I never have anything to report on the home front. So often, it feels like we’re constantly creating new messes, instead of finishing the ones we’ve already made.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Any good designer will tell you to tackle a house one project at a time, but unfortunately that has not been realistic with this old Queen Anne, as many problems have cropped up that needed immediate attention and other renovation efforts have to happen in conjunction with one another. It can be frustrating, and then we often halt mid-project as the bills rack up or we can’t find the right materials for the job.

But then sometimes when I’m feeling like we’ve made very little progress for having lived here four years, I scroll through my #VicReno files in Lightroom and see how much we truly have accomplished in that amount of time. On a budget. By ourselves (for the most part). While maintaining pretty hectic work schedules and traveling a solid half of the year. And that’s when I pat SVV and myself on the back for all the hard work and pour us each a drink.

This year has mostly been dedicated to the exterior—at least until it went from a balmy, eternal summer to a frigid winter chill a couple weeks ago—and, after three years of looking at raw wood, the outside is now almost fully painted. Not to mention, the picket fence we labored on for so long is about 90 percent complete. Hurrah!

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

But it was a long road to get to this point.

If you recall, it took us a number of failed attempts at hiring laborers and three years in transition to even get all the siding replaced. We knew we wouldn’t rely on a crew to do the painting for us, but we also needed a good chunk of time when we’d be home to actually do the work. And due to the sheer height of the house, plus all its sharp angles, there was also the issue of scaffolding, which was both prohibitive and expensive, even if we just opted to rent it for a month instead of outright buy it.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House
Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

We were scratching our heads, trying to figure out the best, most cost-effective approach when my in-laws were out visiting over the summer and my father-in-law kindly offered to rent us a 50-foot lift, which would make the job go much faster. So we called up our local equipment rental company, booked the lift for the soonest we could get it, which was two months out, and cleared our schedules for the first two weeks in August.

Buying and Renovating a Queen Anne Victorian Home

We always knew we wanted to go with a classic white and restore this old Victorian beauty to her original grandeur, so we scoured the local Sherwin-Williams paint store for the perfect hue and settled on High Reflective White (SW 7757).

When SVV told me the prep would take some time, he wasn’t kidding. It took us four consecutive eight-hour days of scraping, bleaching, power-washing, caulking, masking the windows air-tight, sealing the house so no more squirrels could get in the attic and patching every nail hole in the cypress siding before we could even start to paint.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Let’s just say, by day five, my fingers were raw and nearly bleeding from all that caulk, and we hadn’t even really begun the bulk of the work either.

Meanwhile, SVV prepped and hand-painted the turret while I patched and caulked below before we got the sprayer out and really got down to business.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Then, it was onto the “fun” stuff, if you can call it that.

We busted out the sprayer, and he gave the whole house a coat of oil-based primer from tip to tail to seal the wood but also to lock in the lead-based paint in the old sections of siding that we opted not to replace.
Renovating an 1800s Victorian Home

That part alone took the better part of two days.

Next, it was on to the eaves and peaks, for which we used Sherwin-Williams English Ivy (SW 2935). This hue is a classic forest green that almost looks black that SVV matched to a color he had used on a $26 million house in San Francisco and always loved.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

By the time all of that was done, we were nearing the end of our week-long rental period and starting to get a little panicky because we couldn’t afford to keep it any longer at the weekly rate the rental company charged ($1100).

Buying and Renovating a Queen Anne Victorian Home

And on the sixth day, reinforcements arrived.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Our good friends Daina, Brian, Abby, Josh and their fur kids (and now human baby), who have come out for our last two barnraising parties, obligingly forfeited their Saturday to come down once more and help out with some of the more detailed work.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House
Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

They spent all day laboring with us before having to go back to Nashville. We always joke that we get more drinking and gossiping done than actual work, but it’s nice having another four set of hands to help do all the detailed stuff (not to mention, it’s just fun having these guys around).

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

On day seven, we hit the ground running, spraying an entire layer of top coat on the whole house. Then, we wound up keeping the lift an extra day at a pro-rated cost and getting as much of the upper part of the house completely finished as we could before the company came to pick it up on the ninth morning.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

We still have some finish work to do—a good four days, at least—like, for example, the whole back side of the house, which only has a coat of primer and not its finish coat. SVV still needs to cut in where he sprayed the eaves and peaks, and I still need to give the porch one last finish coat, in addition to us hand-painting the ceiling and floor one last time (we used a custom Sherwin Williams haint blue for this).

Painting Your Porch Haint Blue

Painting Your Porch Haint Blue
Painting Your Porch Haint Blue

But for now, the house looks good enough that I don’t feel like we’re the rednecks on the block with the two-toned house and I’m proud of how she’s continuing to evolve.

Everything You Need to Know About Painting Your House

Especially given where we started before the new windows, roof, porch, siding, picket fence, landscaping and dozens of other upgrades:

Buying and Renovating a Queen Anne Victorian Home

Supplies We Used

  • 1 Nifty Lift
  • 5 boxes of caulking
  • 20 gallons of primer
  • 13 gallons of white top coat
  • 8 gallons of green top coat
  • 4 gallons of deck and ceiling paint
  • 2 respirators
  • 2 bags of rags

Since the weather has taken a dramatic turn, we’ll be working on indoor projects for the foreseeable future. First up after the holidays, finishing the upstairs bathroom, which is only a day or two from completion once we get the Carrara marble in for the vanity top, then gutting the entire downstairs bathroom and digging a hole in the basement because of a flooding situation down there.

Buying and Renovating a Queen Anne Victorian Home

Simultaneously, we’ll be tackling the living and dining room plan that interior designer Kendall Simmons came up with for us, which may or may not include knocking out an entire wall, and starting to work on our kitchen, too, in conjunction with the back staircase, which we’ll be painting and doing some other work to, like replacing the runner.

So, you know, as usual, not much going on in these parts is what I’m saying, I guess.

Disclosure: Sherwin-Williams provided us with five gallons of paint for free for this project. Everything else, we bought at the store, mostly for 30 to 40 percent off as it seems they’re always having a sale (PSA!). 

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House Painting 101: How We Painted the Exterior of our 1800s Victorian Home
House Painting 101: How We Painted the Exterior of our 1800s Victorian Home
House Painting 101: How We Painted the Exterior of our 1800s Victorian Home
COMMENTS
  • December 16, 2016

    So much work, but guys it’s really starting to look amazing! I’m super curious what the end result will look like! 🙂
    Dominique recently posted..Historical Triangle – Enkhuizen, Medemblik & HoornMy Profile

    • December 16, 2016

      Thanks, Dominique! The outside will look more or less like it does now, just a bit more finished (i.e. the cut-ins around the eaves and peaks won’t be messy; the porch will be a bit brighter). But I’m most excited to finally tackle the inside as we just sort of filled it with furniture as a place holder and really didn’t “design” it per se. You’ll have to come visit when it’s all finished 😉

  • December 16, 2016

    Homes are so much work – I bought mine “move in ready” and still have spent a lot of money/time over the past few years.
    Your house looks beautiful, I love the character! Definitely sounds like a lot of work but worth it when you know that its all yours.
    Noelle recently posted..A Weekend at the Christmas Markets in Stuttgart, GermanyMy Profile

    • December 16, 2016

      It’s funny, Noelle, but I see all my friends with new builds and am often super jealous that they can enjoy their weekends and every spare moment isn’t spent working on house projects. Then again, we moved into a brand new house when I was 8 and lived there for 15 years and it was one problem after another, so I guess owning a “move-in ready” home isn’t as always as easy as it appears!

  • December 16, 2016

    My goodness, Kristin!! I’m exhausted from just READING that entire post. Bravo for you and SVV to tackle that (on top of everything else you’ve done this year) – you must feel SO DAMN ACCOMPLISHED right now! Cheers to an even better 2017 on all fronts! 🙂
    Pauline recently posted..How I Fund My TravelsMy Profile

    • December 16, 2016

      You’re the sweetest! I feel like on big projects like this, it takes sooooooo long to see a finished result—in our case, three years, ha!—that it makes me feel like we’re not doing enough. But we just finished a huge purge of the inside and are doing a Goodwill run today, then ready to tackle the interior design, finally!

  • December 16, 2016
    Tonya Wariner

    That’s a lot of painting. And then you’ll have to do it all over someday.

  • December 16, 2016

    It looks AH-MAZING. My hat is totally off–that is a massive amount of DIY. You guys are a couple of work horses.

    • December 20, 2016

      Thank you so much, Dana! I’m lucky that Scott had so many years working in contractor professions to put to use as I’m learning EVERYTHING from scratch as we go =)

  • December 16, 2016

    Looks great! There’s a certain sense of satisfaction in having done the hard work yourself; I think you appreciate it more in the end.
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..Colorado Hot Springs WeekendMy Profile

    • December 20, 2016

      Definitely! I just wish the end would get her a little more quickly 😉

  • December 18, 2016

    Every good Southern house needs its haint blue 🙂
    Caroline Eubanks recently posted..Building a Travel WardrobeMy Profile

    • December 20, 2016

      I knew you’d like that, Georgia girl!

  • December 19, 2016
    Briel K.

    Wow, you guys have put in so much hard work and it is looking great! That pat on the back and drink are well deserved! Good luck with all those indoor changes coming up! 🙂

    • January 13, 2017

      Thanks, gal! I hope you’ll be a guest here someday 😉

      • January 16, 2017
        Briel K.

        That would be awesome! Every time I look at flights to Nashville they are so expensive. Hopefully one day it will all work out and we can finally meet!

  • December 21, 2016

    Your home looks more like a castle from Disney world.All the hard word paid off.Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience.Wish you luck and happiness 🙂

    • January 13, 2017

      That makes my year, Richard! Thank you for those kind words.

  • December 21, 2016

    Miller can’t wait to help you with all those final painting touches that he promised in exchange for ‘Roo digs 😉 And I’ll be supervising with a drink in hand! (Just kidding. I’ll help!)

    • January 13, 2017

      We’re knocking out two walls downstairs next week, so hopefully it will be up to Miller’s standards by June and just require a bit of touch-ups 😉

  • December 24, 2016

    WOW! What an amazing property. All the hard work has paid off as it looks great, is the white woodwork hard to upkeep? We’ve been in our home 9 years now and we still haven’t finished renovating it; it’s difficult to find the time to get the last few jobs done. Maybe next year.

    • January 13, 2017

      Well, when we’re on year now, we’ll still have a lot left to do if it makes you feel any better, Claire 😉

  • January 1, 2017

    Your House is really beautiful 😀
    I understood that you love your house a lot.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • February 14, 2017

    Looks like you’ve been having some good time, Kristin! This really inspires me.

    Glad to have found your site 🙂

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